The 12 Best Podcasts for Your Commute
August 6, 2018
Since the investigative journalism podcast Serial launched in the fall of 2014, podcasts have become the hip thing to binge and we are now living in a podcast golden age.
However, the podcast boom is a double-edged sword. With over 500,000 active podcasts out there, it’s tough to decide what to listen to. To help you wade through the avalanche of choices, we’ve compiled our list of the 12 best podcasts for your commute.
Whether you’re new to the medium or a podcast veteran looking for fresh shows, we’ve got something for everyone.
But first, a quick how-to, in case you’re a podcast newbie. iPhones have the pre-loaded Podcasts app. If you’re tuning in on your Android phone, simply download an app like Stitcher, Spotify or TuneIn.
Once you have an app, you can explore the catalog and subscribe to shows you like. When you subscribe to a show, new episodes will automatically download to your phone.
The best inspirational podcasts
How I Built This: Host Guy Raz interviews entrepreneurs about their journeys to building their businesses, complete with all of the ups and downs it entails. The series features chats with founders of older companies like Ben & Jerry’s as well as new juggernauts like Airbnb—and it’s perfect for some morning motivation.
Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations: Any commute gets infinitely more inspiring with a little Oprah fix. SuperSoul Conversations is the podcast offshoot of Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday on OWN. It’s a series of moving interviews with individuals like spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh and author/speaker Brené Brown.
Happier with Gretchen Rubin: Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before, is known for dispensing advice on finding happiness and establishing good habits. Now, you can get this knowledge on the go with her podcast. Episodes alternate between longer conversations and quick two-minute “A Little Happier” reminders.
The best true crime podcasts
Dirty John: Reported by Christopher Goffard of The L.A. Times, Dirty John is an addictive story about a manipulative man and the tangled web of lies and abuse he created. Beware: You may binge the whole show in just a few commutes.
In the Dark: Like Serial, In the Dark’s seasons are standalone stories. Both seasons zero in on the flaws in the justice system and how law enforcement has mishandled the cases. Thoroughly reported and full of interviews, this is a gripping podcast.
My Favorite Murder: This is definitely not your standard true crime podcast. Hosted by comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the duo discusses murder cases and true crime tales. However, it’s under Apple Podcast’s “Comedy” category for a reason—the show is more lighthearted and informal than a conventional true crime saga.
The best history podcasts
Revisionist History: If you’re a Malcolm Gladwell fan, subscribe to Revisionist History ASAP. This podcast ties historical events to overarching themes and trends that are especially relevant today. For instance, episodes have linked coal miners to football and CTE. Gladwell is a patient, thoughtful storyteller; you’ll leave any episode having gained a new perspective.
Stuff You Missed in History Class: Part of the HowStuffWorks universe, Stuff You Missed in History Class analyzes the people, places and ideas you never studied in high school—but you wish you had. From discussing rare orchids to emperors you’ve never heard of, this podcast ensures that you’re always learning something new.
Slow Burn: Slate’s miniseries is a deep dive into Watergate. The intention of the show is to evoke how it felt to live through the scandal, not just read about it in history books. This approach, along with exclusive interviews, gives the show a spellbinding, true crime feel.
The best comedy podcasts
2 Dope Queens: Recorded from their live shows, 2 Dope Queens is hosted by Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams (a former correspondent on The Daily Show). It combines conversations between the two performers, interviews with celebrities and stand-up. The show is dynamic, energetic and a great way to get to know fresh new comedic talent.
Comedy Bang Bang: This long-running comedy podcast is a classic for good reason. Host Scott Aukerman has conversations with his guests and uses them as jumping-off points for sketches, songs and improv game segments. Guests have included comedy all-stars like Paul F. Tompkins, Jon Hamm, Sarah Silverman and Amy Poehler.
Judge John Hodgman: No, John Hodgman is not a real judge. Yes, he is a comedian who plays a judge in a mock courtroom. Hodgman listens to plaintiffs state their positions on not-so-serious disputes and issues a verdict. The unique format makes this an entertaining podcast to accompany your trip to and from work.
For more commute inspiration, check out our tips on how to jumpstart your day—complete with some bonus podcast recs.
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